Top L.L.Bean, Seattle Chocolates executives to discuss purposeful work

Seattle Chocolates’ Owner and CEO, Jean Thompson '82. (Kate Baldwin)

Seattle Chocolates’ owner and CEO, Jean Thompson ’82. (Kate Baldwin)

In the latest in a series of Bates events exploring careers, the liberal arts education and traits that support purposeful work, the CEO of Seattle Chocolates and the chief marketing officer for retailer L.L.Bean draw on their own experiences in a discussion at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10, in the Fireplace Lounge in Commons, 136 Central Ave.

Open to the public at no cost, this Purposeful Work Unplugged event is sponsored by the Purposeful Work initiative at Bates. Chai and cookies will be served. For more information, please call 207-786-6128.

Steve Fuller '82 is a Bates Trustee and the chief marketing officer for retailer L.L.Bean.

Steve Fuller ’82 is a Bates Trustee and the chief marketing officer for retailer L.L.Bean.

Both members of the Bates class of 1982, the participants are Seattle Chocolates owner and CEO Jean Thompson and L.L.Bean’s Steve Fuller, who will interview Thompson.

Thompson was a longtime chocolate lover and investor in Seattle Chocolates before taking the company’s helm in 2002. Early in her tenure there, she noticed that the industry didn’t seem to understand women’s passion for chocolate.

Ads depicted sexy women draped across settees, dipping into a box of chocolates given them by someone else. “I thought of my friends, I thought of me, buying our own chocolate and eating it every day,” says Thompson. “Enjoying chocolate while driving, working, relaxing and socializing, and as a pick-me-up, to salve an emotional wound or in celebration.”

A native New Englander, Thompson embarked on a career in high tech after graduating from Bates, and worked at Microsoft prior to Seattle Chocolates. She has been profiled in More and Success magazines, and is the subject of a chapter in “Goddess Shift: Women Leading for a Change,” a 2010 collection of profiles of women in leadership.

Fuller oversees all marketing functions for L.L.Bean including advertising, creative, customer planning, customer satisfaction, operations and the retailer’s L.L.Bean’s website. Since assuming marketing responsibilities in 2002, he has helped Bean attract more new customers than at any other time in the company’s history.

Fuller was key to the development of L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Advantage Program, the company’s co-branded VISA card, which is one of the largest affinity programs in the country. He was also responsible for establishing the retailer’s relationship with Subaru and the development of the automaker’s L.L.Bean Editions in the U.S. and Japan.

A Maine native, Fuller received an M.B.A. from Boston College and attended Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. Prior to L.L.Bean, he spent nine years in the publishing industry. He is a Bates trustee and serves on the board of the National Nordic Foundation. He was the co-developer of the iPhone application Racesplitter, used to time ski and running races.

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